History runs in Delhi’s veins and so it should. The city over the centuries has attracted conquerors from different clans and has been reincarnated nine times. Hauz Khas is a reminder of these different stages this city has undergone. Literally Hauz Khas translates into a royal tank ( Hauz – A tank, Khas – Royal).This was the reservoir which supplied water to Siri ,the second city of Delhi, built by Alauddin Khilji. The tombs and mosque which now surround the big reservoir came a little later, constructed when the tank was desilted by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. The way we see Hauz Khas today is the result of restoration and development of this site as a commercial area in 1980s, when it came to be known as Hauz Khas Village.
My first visit to this heritage site was as a part of a photo walk I took along with a photography group I had joined. We had reached there early on a winter morning, the sun had just risen, chill in the air still there. I had heard quite a lot about the place so I was full of curiosity. Immediately I was consumed by the novelty of the place. There were narrow lanes flanked by colourful buildings , home to some of the venerated restaurants in the city, a gourmet’s delight. Beyond these lanes, inside a gated premises were the old tombs built by Tughlaq on a miniature cliff, from its edge the entire Hauz -E – Khas was visible . The early risers enjoyed a invigorating walk by the side of the tank , remnants of history overlooking them, the tank itself being one of the elements of the heritage . As the sun started taking charge all of us got busy fidgeting with the settings of our camera and kept clicking, time flew in a still and peaceful environment.
Once the day is set into motion the place transforms itself, as I found out in my subsequent visits. No more quaint, it is full of people, young and the old, elite and the masses, thronging this place which is an eclectic mix of the past and the present. Some are happy getting clicked around the old structures built centuries ago, some huddle together and relax in the lawn, some are happy satisfying their palate and the rest delighted themselves with some shopping. There is something for everyone here. Once the sun sets the neon signs take over and make the entire place vibrant and energetic. The party goes on late into the night!